Captives

20140216-195910.jpg

Title: Captives
Series: The Safe Lands
Author: Jill Williamson
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: April 2, 2013
Pages: 416

————————

Eighteen year old Levi has just returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, only to find his beloved village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many – including his fianc├ę, Jemma – taken captive. Now the leader of their village, Levi knows he can’t stay behind and forget about those he loves, so he’s on a mission to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means going into the infamous Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.

Omar brought the enforcers to his village and he knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away but he get helping the enforcers was necessary. Omar is tired of living off the land and clinging to what he believes is an outdated religion and he’s ready to change his way of life for the good. The Safe Lands have offered him power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams if he just tells them where his village is. Omar never expected the carnage that would ensue.

Meanwhile, Mason, Omar and Levi’s brother, has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save his people and possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. That is if he can manage to stay out of trouble and keep from falling for someone with the plague and destroying his chances of succeeding.

Can Levi rescue his people from the Safe Lands or will he fail and lose everything in the process? Will Omar realize what the Safe Lands really are or is the gilded cage enough to keep Omar satisfied? Will Mason be able to help his fellow villagers to freedom or will he get caught and get into serious trouble? Can Mason find a cure for the thin plague or will he have to choose between a girl he likes and freedom?
—————————–

With all the excitement over post-apocalyptic movies and books, I decided to see what all the attention was about and I chose Jill Williamson’s book to do that. Now I know what everyone loves and I must say that this type of book just skyrocketed up my list of favorite genres and I fully intend to find more books like it. This book was better than my expectations, and I had high ones, and completely surprised me with the intricacy of this book. Just when you think things will work out something happens to change that and it ended on a cliffhanger, guaranteeing that I’ll be back to see how all this works out.

Though this book is set in 2088, a year that is 74 years in the future, it doesn’t feel too far off or too extreme to really happen. In fact, the attitude of the Safe Landers isn’t that different from regular secular people today, it’s just a bit more extreme. With e-cigarettes and a party/casual sex attitude out world is well on its way to becoming the fictional Safe Lands. Jill Williamson’s realistic, just extreme, take on us in the future is the most fascinating part of this book and definitely makes you think and question. I think she did an amazing job if her goal was to make teens question their life choices and where their future’s headed.

Tense and nerve-wracking scenes are the pinnacle of this book and it definitely gets your emotions involved. You want the Glenrock residents to escape before impregnation but you also want Mason to find a cure, not because of all the Safe Landers but just one. It gave me conflicting feelings on top of the taut nerves and nervous stomach, leaving me absolutely involved and emotionally invested in the outcome of this book. Very rarely do I feel this so I’m incredibly pleased it was with this one.

Every character has different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to see them all. However, I do look forward to seeing them in the next books in this series. From what I was able to see, I picked a few favorite characters: Mason, Levi, and Shaylinn. I liked Mason because of his willpower and strength in tough situations, Levi because he’d do anything for Jemma, and Shaylinn because I can relate to her and her body image issues. I think no matter the person, you can relate to this book.

Jill Williamson is a new author for me but she has amazed me with Captives and I fully intend to read the next books in the series and even see what else she has come up with before this one. She’s very good at making a book a teenager, both boy or girl, will love. She even managed to do it without vampires or werewolves! I highly recommend this book for any teen and even some adults.

Overall, I really liked this book. It’s perfect for people who love dystopian novels or teen sci-fi. This book is perfect for teens, adults and maybe mature tweens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Advertisements

King

20130726-224924.jpg

Title: King
Series: Books Of The Infinite
Author: R. J. Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: July 1, 2013
Pages: 352

————————————

Akabe Garric has been chosen, against his will, to be king of Siphra. He’s a warrior at heart and never dreamed if or wanted such a swift unexpected rise to power. Despite his misgivings about his new role, he’s determined to prove his worth to the people of Munra and honor his Creator by undertaking a monumental task: rebuilding the Infinite’s Holy House in Siphra. If only the task only was all he had to worry about.

When Akabe soon discovers that the land he needs is held by the ThaenFalls, known Atea-worshipers who will only give him the land if he marries into their line. He has no idea what to do, all he knows is that his choice, Caitria, is pretty and seems like she’s had a rough life like him. Though Akabe seeks the Infinite’s direction, he gets nothing but silence. Frustrated, Akabe makes an impulsive decision which sweeps his nation into a lethal storm that threatens his plans for the temple.

With Akabe’s impulsive marriage to a controversial bride, Ela and Kien are forced to face what they feel for each other and when her father gives her to Kien, she must face her fears of her lifespan and those she’ll now leave behind. They also must face assassination attempts and another vision that will forever alter their lives as well as make them question how much time they have left. They must team up for righteousness and to survive but their enemies are persistent and they might finally succeed in killing the world famous prophet.

Can Ela give up her fears for her death and her fears of who she will leave behind or will she forever refuse to love because of the unknown? Can Akabe turn his new wife to the Infinite or will he have a wife who hates his Creator forever? Can Kien, Akabe, Caitria, and Ela survive the assassins or will the assassins succeed in their task? Will Akabe and Caitria fall in love despite their differences or will they forever be unhappy in their situation? Can Akabe finish the Infinite’s Holy House or will he lose his life because of it and before it’s finished?
————————————–

I love this author and her first fantasy series. This series is absolutely incredible and this latest installment skyrockets it up to my “top five best series ever” list and it’s not coming off any time soon. I’m a bit sad it has to come to an end yet excited to find out what other fantastic fantasy novels she will throw my way. R. J. Larson has become one my all time favorite authors and I fully intend to attempt to he my hands on anything else she writes.

Each book in this series was slightly different. The first focused on Ela and mostly revolved on prophesy, while the second revolved around battles and stubbornness. This one, revolved around love, survival, and trusting God and I must say that I think this one just might be my favorite of the three. This book hit close to home because I find myself doing things similar to King Akabe and so I loved this one and seeing every lovable character’s ending.

There’s actually quite a bit of romance in this novel. Akabe marries an Atean yet despite their differences they fall in love, even though Akabe doesn’t stop praying for her. Kien and Ela’s relationship opens to a new chapter and forces Ela to face some deep-seated fears she has about loving anyone. Even Matron Prill falls in love with someone as well as Pet/Scythe and that brought joy to my heart. The thing I loved most about all the romance in this book was the fact that Caitria was one of the most lovable characters, despite her rebellious ways,
and I couldn’t help but love her despite some poor choice and wrinkles in the road.

The one thing I wish was a bit different was the lack of an intense “death-scene” for our prophet, Ela. In the other two books, Ela has nearly died and the intensity of those scenes and the feelings they evoke was greatly missed and gave the book a less urgent feeling that I feel would’ve worked nicely. Also, a small pet peeve, I really wanted to know how long Ela lived for but I guess that that is something the author didn’t want us to know.

This author truly captivated me and made me a huge fan. I’m eagerly anticipating the next book she authors and hope that I’m fortunate enough to get my hands on it. I don’t think I’ve this fully engrossed in a book in a long time, nor have I wanted something to be real as much as I’ve wanted my own destroyer. This author mastered this series and has a definite gift of storytelling. This author and series come highly recommended.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book despite the lack of intensity and finality with Ela. I think this this book is perfect for people who like a fantasy that feels real. I think this series is great for adults, teens, and tweens and will help develop their love of Christ. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Judge

20130721-200002.jpg

Title: Judge
Series: Books Of The Infinite
Author: R. J. Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: November 1, 2012
Pages: 368

———————————–

Kien Lantec is on the first day of his military leave when the unexpected happens, he gets marching orders from his Creator, the Infinite. Orders that include going to ToronSea and warn them of their worship of a new goddess. This is the last thing he wants to do. What he really wants to do is race his destroyer and court the love of his life, Ela. What’s worse is that his mission doesn’t even utilize his skills as a military judge-in-training and he’s not happy about it.

Ela Roeh of Parne, the newest prophet of the Infinite, has just been given some shocking and devastating news. Her beloved hometown has turned their backs on the Infinite and have started idol worship. She now has a mission from her Creator to go and warn Parne of their imminent doom and urge them to turn their hearts back to their Creator. Not only does she not get to spend the next two months with Kien but she’s now going to have to watch her birthplace be turned to ash and maybe with her still in it.

With them both pulled in separate directions, they both must seek the Infinite’s leading and hope he will reunite them soon. But for Ela, part of her vision includes an ominous ending that she must keep to herself or scare everyone who loves her. Kien’s mission means he must listen to his Creator and do what the Infinite wants, even if it isn’t what he wants or if it means giving up what he desires most.

Can Ela turn the hearts of her fellow Parnians or will she be forced to watch her city burn? Can Kien follow the Infinite’s leading or will he have to learn the hard way that the Infinite’s way is best? Will Ela survive the destruction of her city or will this be how she dies? Will Kien be able to fulfill his Infinite given duty or will he fail and see another city’s end? Will Ela and Kien get the chance to be together or will they be torn apart before they he the chance to love each other?
——————————

I loved the first book in this series and was so ecstatic when this one became available and I must say that this one is even better than the first. The storyline has gotten even more intricate and the characters have gotten even more lovable. This book was so good, i devoured it in one day flat and loved every single moment of it. R. J. Larson definitely nailed this one and I can’t wait to read her next one.

The thing I love most about this book, besides the destroyers, is the fact that though it’s a fantasy, it’s easy to see this world existing and the Infinite and the miracles of Ela all are similar to miracles in the Bible. So the transition from reality and fantasy isn’t that big of a leap and makes this world so realistic. It’s so realistic, that when I came up for air I felt that it was a real shame that this world didn’t exist and I wouldn’t be able to have a destroyer of my own. I’m still amazed that this author was able to create such a realistic world and captivate me so easily. I think this author has found her niche and I would be happy to read her fantasy novels until the day I die.

Every character in this book has a different personality, even Scythe/Pet and the array of destroyers. It’s easy for me to imagine Kien, Ela, and every side character as a part of history and not imagined characters. In fact, every time I pick up a book in this series I wish I had a destroyer and I could ride into battle alongside the hero and heroine. Actually, I still want a destroyer and am actually a bit upset that they don’t exist. I love the entire cast and how each one’s story went through the book.

This book is also set at an amazingly fast pace. This book literally doesn’t let up until the last page and it was so difficult to put this book down that I actually stayed up late trying to finish it. I didn’t succeed but I reluctantly put it down and woke up the next morning and started it up again. I couldn’t put it down and I loved the fact that the story pulled me along and didn’t let me go until I closed the book. This book definitely makes it onto my favorites list and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

This author caught my eye with Prophet and has now latched on in this one and I’m happy to be latched into when it means I get a fantastic book out of it. I’m so happy this author decided to go into fantasy because if she hasn’t we wouldn’t have this series and the world would be deprived of a fantastic fantasy author. I highly recommend this book and series as well as any fantasy novels this author writes. I’m now a huge fan and look forward to digging into King.

Overall, I loved this one and have absolutely no complaints about this glorious fantasy novel. I think this is perfect for anyone looking for a realistic fantasy novel with a biblical feeling. This book is great for adults, teens, or tweens and is a great book to build their faith ad imaginations. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Prophet

20120926-141238.jpg

Title: Prophet
Series: Books of the Infinite
Author: R. J. Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: April 1, 2012
Pages: 352

———————————–

Seventeen year old Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She has a bad temper, is undignified, and she would be the first female prophet to come out of Parne. Worst of all, as the saying goes, a grey haired prophet has failed. All of the prophets before her have died young and she won’t be the one to break that tradition. But she can’t live without His presence.

She’s determined to follow the Infinite’s voice and commands, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent away from her family into a nation torn apart by war. Her mission is to bring the Infinite’s word to their polytheistic life and hopefully alter a horrendous prophecy. If only it were that easy. The Isthaardians want nothing to do with her or the Infinite. They mock and try to murder her at every turn, making her feel like a failure.

Kien Lantec is a young Traceland ambassador sent to bring peace, but now he’s determined to bring justice to his oppressed people. He fights the king at every turn and lands himself in prison, where he meets the beautiful prophet, Ela. As they form an unlikely partnership, they begin feel things that threaten to unbalance their lives for good. As her feelings grow Ela must somehow determine a balance between her heart and the Infinite.

Will Ela succeed with her job as prophet or will she live to have gray hair? Will Kien convince Ela that they can be together or will Ela determine that only the Infinite has her time? Will the king listen to the prodding of the Infinite or will his whole kingdom crumble because of his stubbornness? Will Ela die young or die an old woman?
———————————

This was my first real jaunt into the fantasy genre and I didn’t know what to expect or how I was going to feel after I flipped the last page. However, I have an opinion now. I feel like this book was the perfect transition from reality to fantasy. It had just enough realism to make it believable, but also just enough fantasy to remind you that it hasn’t nor ever will exist. If this is how fantasy is, then I’m definitely a fan. This book also got me out of my shell and makes me want to read other fantasy books both this author’s and others.

I think the thing I liked most about this book and kind of wish we had in reality was the destroyers. Massive war horses that are extremely loyal to the point of being ridiculous. In fact, a lot of the humor in the book comes from Pet/Scythe and him tearing up stuff to get to his master. These destroyers are more like a dog or cat as far as expression goes, but is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to war, definitely making this book a lot better because of it.

I think another reason why I loved this book so much was because of how similar to the biblical fiction I love. It seemed like it was close to Bible stories we all know and love as well as being similar in timeframe. I also loved the female prophet angle, it’s not one you see very often, but it’s one that I enjoyed. I don’t know if I would enjoy it as much as I did if it wasn’t so rare but because it is, I felt it was yet another aspect that I could love about this book.

The author also did something completely perfect for this book, created a romance that didn’t get completed in this novel. She wanted to add a little romance, but she didn’t want to force it into the story. So she made an open ended romance that fit so perfectly I have no complaints. Even with the lack of romance, she captured my heart and made me content with what she gave. It’s a sweet innocent romance that made me want more.

The descriptions in this book are a must. It made me feel like this area was real and I was walking alongside Ela at every turn. Also, the descriptions of the dangerous, deadly animals in this world made me a little thankful that the monsters in this story weren’t walking the earth with us. This author knew how to describe without over describing and she described the battle scenes all while leaving out the majority of the battle scenes, a detail most will be ecstatic over.

This genre is a first for me and the author, but if this book is any indication, both I and the author will be back with more fantasy. Me because I found a new genre that satisfies my curiosity and the author because I believe that she has truly found her niche. For a debut in a new genre, this book is the epitome of fantastic. It’s perfect for lovers of biblical fiction and fantasy fiction. I can’t wait to read more in this series and from this author. The author has opened a door into this genre that can’t be closed, so stay tuned for more fantasy reviews in the near future.

Overall, a great fantasy book for beginners in the genre or people who have been reading in it for years. It’s perfect for teens and Tweens alike an parents can rest easy that it isn’t to ridiculous like some of the fantasy books can get. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*